A personal experience and reflection of the 2020 pandemic so far…

This is the year that the world had big expectations for; another decade has passed, and big news for the UK the Brexit deal had gone through after a gruelling period of negotiation, whether you voted this or not you wanted it done. It felt like things were moving forward.

Issues that were a priority have taken a back seat and globally, the streets of bustling cities, towns & villages have come to a halt. Coronavirus has swept the globe causing a pandemic. All non-essential shops are closed and the government have given direction for everybody to stay indoors unless for food shopping, one form of exercise or if you are a key worker.

I have been in quarantine since 1st March. A week prior to this I had gone skiing with a group of friends for 7 days to the well known resort of St Anton in Austria, a place with a combination of idyllic skiing locations and buzzing apres spots. Nothing could beat the first Aperol Spritz after a day of skiing. We all went away with the knowledge that Coronavirus was taking its course from China through Europe, but no cases had been confirmed in Austria – we were safe right? With little knowledge about the severity of the virus – not even about the symptoms – we carried on as normal.

It wasn’t until a day before we were due to fly back that I knew something wasn’t right. I was exhausted compared with my friends who were lively, not to mention that irritating gritty throat that had started on Wednesday. Sunday we made it back home to London. Nearly as soon as I arrived at the flat my temperature had shot up, despite feeling shivery. This was the start of quarantine for me. The worst of the symptoms lasted about a week and a half, in which I was still able to work from home although with some difficulty. Following this came loss of senses (smell and taste). This had not yet been observed as a symptom and despite friends claiming this was normal of having flu, I was suspicious. I had never experienced this before. In total I had 3 weeks with symptoms.

Just one week after returning from the trip it was reported that all ski resorts were closed down, guess why? Because they were the main areas for outbreak of COVID19 in Austria, during the very time that I had visited. Whether I had Coronavirus or not is still a myth because I was refused testing – Austria “wasn’t on the warning list” of places with outbreaks in the first week of my return. Overall, if it was COVID my experience was mild / manageable.

Like everyone else the pandemic has changed life for me in many ways including work, leisure, socialising, diet, exercise… everything. I cannot say it is all bad however, with no fast food and no commuting to work I like to see it as a rare moment in time to heal, rest and reflect. Thankfully I can still work from home in my full time PR & Social role, as well as broadcasting my shows with Vibe107.6 in Watford from my bedroom. Whilst this presented some challenges in the beginning, I am grateful for how smoothly it is going. It is astonishing just how much we can do from home to stay connected and keep working. The set up for presenting only consists of a microphone, a laptop and earphones along with software that is easy to access online. My set up also includes my mixer, specifically for DJ’ing.

Caroline’s set up at home for DJ’ing & Presenting

Content for my shows has changed too. Whilst I am maintaining my usual chatty and cheery self on air, it has become very important to reiterate serious government guidelines. We have seen the front pages covered with photos of full parks, as well as reports of house parties up and down the country. It is important for broadcasters to help re-enforce those guidelines.

Current advice for the listeners is to continue to STAY AT HOME.
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get to work and arrive home

Additionally, whilst content pre COVID19 was generally a mix of local, national and fun loving stories, it now seems there is a flood of information to be shared surrounding local community activity. There are even more local people and businesses in need, and more who are volunteering or sharing initiatives. Yes lockdown is a difficult time, but something very positive is happening in the community – we are pulling together stronger than ever before. It is an honour as a presenter to be able to share such stories and help those in need by promoting their message. If the support from the community was not obvious in the normal light of day, it is certainly shining through in this darkness.

We have now been in official UK lockdown for a month and in the past two weeks we have seen the highest death toll in connection with coronavirus as well as the global economy plummet lower than ever before. We have also seen our Prime minister, Boris Johnson, being admitted into intensive care after testing positive with the virus, although he is recovering now.

This is without a doubt a moment for the history books. One that will change the shape of the future as we knew it. Sadly, there will be many who won’t know what the future looks like because the virus will have gripped them, but for others uncertainty awaits.

Thank you to the NHS

I would like to take this opportunity to once again say #THANKYOUNHS and to other critical workers in supermarkets and pharmacies. Putting your life on the line to help others is selfless and should / will be commended.

4 Comments

  1. John Hill on April 13, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I think you might have had COVID. Thank you for sharing your experience. Great article.

  2. Helen on April 13, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing this article.

  3. Johnny Ward on April 20, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Caroline thank you for sharing your experience, I am so pleased that you have come through this corona ordeal. I had the pleasure of talking to you on air some time ago and we had a great laugh. So please keep laughing Caroline . And good health to to NHS . and let’s beat this. Keep safe. Johnny Ward Harry Kane Impressionist

    • Caroline Hesford on April 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Johnny,

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes you really got me with that one! I remember chatting to you on air thinking you were Harry Kane – I will never forget that morning! Keep providing laughter for people with your impressions, you are very good!

      Sending well wishes your way. Stay safe!

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